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Grayson's ESPNU game highlights Gwinnett's 2012 football schedules

Defending Class AAAAA state champion Grayson will be on TV at least twice this football season, including a showdown with Miami Central (Fla.) that will be aired on ESPNU.

Most Gwinnett programs have finalized their 2012 football schedules with the exception of Buford, which is still seeking a 10th game, and Grayson will be tested early this fall.

The Rams open with McEachern in the Corky Kell Classic on Aug. 25, then six days later play Miami Central at home in a game that ESPNU will televise as part of a doubleheader with an SEC football game. The high school game will be shown on tape delay after the SEC game.

"Any time you get a chance to be on ESPN, it's a pretty cool opportunity," Grayson athletic director Brent Tisdale said.

Grayson also will play on local TV on Nov. 1, a Thursday night, against Archer. The game was switched from Friday for TV, which gives exposure to a young Tigers program and gives Grayson an extra day to prepare for a Nov. 9 showdown with Brookwood.

"It'll be great for our kids (to be on TV)," Archer head coach Andy Dyer said. "Obviously Grayson's been on (TV) before, but for our youngsters it will be a big deal."

The season's first game for a Gwinnett team is Aug. 24, a Friday night game at Greater Atlanta Christian. The Spartans host Stone Mountain in the Gwinnett opener.

It's followed by the Aug. 25 Corky Kell at the Georgia Dome. In addition to the Grayson-McEachern matchup, the Corky Kell features Brookwood vs. Walton, North Gwinnett vs. Colquitt County and Peachtree Ridge vs. Camden County.

The number of early-season showcase appearances for Gwinnett programs is down this year, since both Region 7-AAAAA and 8-AAAAA will feature an eight-game region schedule.

North still will host its annual National Football Challenge, but the host team is the only Gwinnett program involved this season. The Bulldogs take on A.C. Flora (S.C.) in the event's nightcap at 6 p.m. It will follow a noon game between Valdosta and North Augusta (S.C.) and a 3 p.m. game between Stephenson and Pine Forest (Fla.) as North turned the doubleheader into a tripleheader.

North head coach Bob Sphire said event organizers are still working out the details on TV for the games.

"Any time you have an opportunity to bring Valdosta up here, you jump all over that," Sphire said. "We're excited about it. We've got a great South Georgia team in Valdosta, one of the great teams in the history of high school football in the nation. And we've got a great program from metro Atlanta in Stephenson that's cranking out a ton of college prospects. We felt like we hit a home run with the Georgia side of it."

Among the season's interesting non-region matchups are Mill Creek at Brookwood (Sept. 7), Central Gwinnett at Collins Hill (Aug. 31), Collins Hill at Dacula (Sept. 7), Norcross at South Gwinnett (Aug. 31) and Parkview at Norcross (Sept. 7).

A private school rivalry also will be renewed Nov. 2 when GAC hosts Wesleyan.